'Spider-Man 3' wraps its eight legs around New York

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Early May is not going to be pretty for arachnophobes: The Big Apple is going to be crawling with spiders as part of an extensive marketing campaign for Sony's summer blockbuster "Spider-Man 3," which will have its U.S. premiere Monday at the Tribeca Film Festival. Institutions from Central Park to the Bronx Zoo and the New York Public Library are finding themselves ensnared in the web spun by Sony in collaboration with the city of New York.

"Spider-Man is New York City's hometown hero," Sony executive vp publicity Gigi Semone says. "What we wanted to do was find a way to make this launch special for the city and give back in a way that was about culture and community."

Planned activities include school pizza parties (to commemorate Peter Parker's rather unsuccessful stint delivering pizzas); a rare comic book display at the NYPL; a chance to meet live arachnids at the Museum of Natural History; and a closing-night rap-off at the Apollo Theater, where urban poets will recite original rhymes based on Spider-Man's adventures. (The prize? A television -- made by Sony, of course.)

A complete list of activities can be found at Spider-manweeknyc.com.

Meanwhile, Tribeca will host no fewer than five Spidey-related events, including the premiere, two Tribeca Talks with the filmmakers and stars and midnight screenings of 2002's "Spider-Man" and 2004's "Spider-Man 2."

"It gives us the opportunity to work with the studio and give them an added value, and it also gives us a different audience," Tribeca Enterprises senior vp Patty Newberger explains. "People think of a film festival as being intellectual -- films vs. movies. The great thing about Tribeca is, we have both."

Extensive as it is, Semone insists that this marketing effort isn't just about promotion -- after all, many of the events take place after the nationwide release of the film May 4. Instead, she says, it's about being a part of New York.

"We have adopted a grassroots approach to help spread the word about the studio's biggest summer tentpole," she says. "The 'Spider-Man' week programs are educational and organic extensions that add to the curriculum offered by each of these cultural institutions. What we are offering each of these city icons is an opportunity to offer residents, tourists and businesses fun and interactive co-branded events that tie into one of the biggest film franchises of all time."

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